A new study found that baby boomers, which are generally healthy and at the prime of their lives, possess a higher risk of drinking high amounts of alcohol within a short period of time compared to their friends. This means that youngsters and millennials are not the only ones capable of binge drinking—their parents are too.

In the new paper, the researchers investigated the social and economic factors that determine harmful drinking of alcohol among individuals aged 50 years old and above across England. The transitions of risk categories over time were also analyzed.

The researchers conducted the study by reviewing the data found in the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing (ELSA), waves 4 and 5. ELSA is a longitudinal multidisciplinary study that surveys different information from a group of community dwellers in England.

To study the indicators of harmful drinking, the scientists particularly looked at wave 5, which is ELSA's latest version and contains data from 2010 to 2011 with a sample size of 9,251. For the transitional analysis, wave 4 containing data from 2008 to 2009 were used.

The scientists then proceeded to compare the collated data against the British drinking guidelines. According to the said literature, men are recommended to drink not more than three to four units per day. For women, the suggested alcohol intake is not more than two to three units per day. One unit of alcohol can be translated to 10 milliliters of pure alcohol, which is equivalent to about half a bottle of beer, half a glass of wine or one shot of hard liquor.

The results of the study, published in the open-access journal BMJ, show that the risk of drinking declines with age and that a non-linear link that peaks during the mid-60s exists between age and risk for men. Women are positively influenced by retirement and income, while men are not.

A positive association between smoking and education was noted in both genders but depression and loneliness were not related. Women's responsibilities to care for the family decreased their risk while those who are younger and earn a high salary are probably going to have an increased risk over time.

Men who are single or separated have a higher risk; however, the researchers stated that their confidence level for this particular finding is only 10 percent. Ultimately, men who are not eating nutritious food, have a fairly young age and are earning higher salaries are probably going to increase their risk of drinking. For men who are lonely, older and have a lower income, the higher risk of alcohol intake tends to cease over time.

In conclusion, the researchers found that a variety of social and economic factors may be related to the risk of individuals consuming more alcohol. People in England who are 50 years old and above, and are very social, rich, high-salary earners and highly educated are more likely to drink harmful amounts of alcohol, something that can be comparable to other studies with the same findings for the working age.

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